We recently stumbled on an incredibly illuminating, highly-illustrated 100-page pdf scanned from 600-page The Art of Things: Product Design since 1945. The ‘Product Design’ descriptor is kind of misleading; the book surveys all kind of objects that we use in our lives, as well as their placement in the bigger picture, in time and place. It’s startling to see that today’s ‘modern design’ started evolving almost a century ago. Our quick run through the pdf yielded a number of useful ideas:
Close to our heart is the image of visionary designer Charlotte Perriand working on her folding wooden chaise longue in 1939, like any of us at work on a design problem, on the floor, mulling the problems and constraints until she achieved….this:
…Here it is folded…
We also love this child’s bedroom from 1947. Look closely and you’ll see that the hinged desk top raises to become horizontal counter height work station and lowers to to form an angled drawing board desk (an early standing desk?!) Either height is cleverly accommodated by turning the accompanying stool upright or on its side. And of course, the rectangular stool could serve many purposes, from plinth to display toys, to the structure for a fort…
We covet this adjustable bed/sofa from the cover of a 1969 Prisunic catalog that morphs from bed to playroom to conversation pit. You can adjust the sides/ends to several angles. With laptop and books we can see it as a fine loungey workstation or movie viewing space.
It’s curious how both Perriand’s design and the Prisunic bed have a shipping palletey look that is so popular currently. We’re wondering if it got woven into our design DNA.
We’re going the buy The Art of Things‘ whose many-decades-old ideas inspire today.